We now have a great team of Regional Assessors to help leaders prepare for and be assessed for permits for adventurous activities. Here’s what three of our leaders, Janet, Hector (pictured above) and David, thought about their assessment by Peter Casebow, one of our Regional Assessors for hill walking.

If you have been out in the hills recently you may well have seen groups of Explorers out taking part in expeditions for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and their Platinum, Diamond and Queen’s Scout Awards!

That of course is only possible with the support of leaders with the experience, training to safely lead and supervise groups of young people, and we caught up with three leaders within the Region who have just completed the technical assessment for T1 Hillwalking permits which demonstrates they have the technical skills and experience to lead groups in more remote and mountainous areas.

David Ingram

Janet Paterson

The Region has a team of Activity Assessors who can advise and assess adult volunteers who wish to lead adventurous activities. Bruce Macdonald (Regional Manager – Adventurous Activities Permit Scheme) joined Hillwalking Assessor Peter Casebow to conduct an assessment for Janet Paterson (Explorer Scout Leader with Craigalmond District DofE Unit), David Ingram (Braid Explorer Scout Commissioner) and Hector Black (Asst Leader, 80th Cramond Scouts/ Craigalmond DofE Explorer Unit). 

The three leaders are all experienced hillwalkers in the Scottish hills and already spent a day with Peter earlier in the Spring in preparation for the assessment, where he was able to give individual advice and guidance leading groups of young people and set “homework”. Janet explained “We were asked to create a route for an overnight hike for Scouts, with a route card and risk assessment. It did take some time but definitively worthwhile as it’s a key skill as a leader of a group”.

With homework completed Janet continued “We met at Lochearnhead at 9.30am and the assessment itself consisted of a day in the hills North of Loch Earn, a good choice as it is itself T1 terrain, and is full of interesting hillocks and small crags but is not generally frequented by hillwalkers”

The group quickly got going with practical navigation exercised from point to point – including a session of blind navigation with one in the group navigating to an unspecified position, when the others had then to work out where it was.  David noted “I found hiking in a new area with very difficult terrain while doing point-point navigation quite hard but an excellent test of ability”. Before finishing the group completed a simulated first aid scenario and then took a well earned break for dinner and an opportunity for Peter to review each person’s prepared route plan. Interestingly the answers which each person had come up with quite different and everyone benefitted from learning from the different approaches.

As the visibility had been clear all day there had been no opportunity to cover low visibility navigation, so the team moved to the Pentlands for another navigation exercise in night time conditions. David found “this was particularly challenging, as it wasn’t possible to use the techniques we had used earlier like handrailing and aiming off, and the length of the legs and the steep ground made counting paces difficult”. 

The very long day ended at 11.30pm with the news that all had completed the assessment – Janet and David shared very similar positive feelings – “It was a very enjoyable, if long day led by Peter in a very professional manner, I am looking forward to supervising and leading groups of Explorers and Scouts in T1 areas” while Hector concluded that assessment process  had “been very thorough and explored all aspects of leading a group of young people in the hills”.

If you want to know more about getting a permits for any adventurous activity, please contact Bruce MacDonald, our Regional Manager for the Adventurous Activity Permit Scheme (MAPS) at  maps@sesscouts.org.uk or click here.

Bruce MacDonald